Minimum wage raise is a hot topic

Springfield minimum wage debate. (WDTN Photo/Jake Ryle)
Springfield minimum wage debate. (WDTN Photo/Jake Ryle)

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Legislation last week in Seattle was approved to increase the minimum wage to a rate of $15 an hour.

Here in Ohio, the state’s minimum wage is still $.70 above the federal minimum wage, which stands at $7.25 an hour.

Young’s Jersey Dairy, located just north of Yellow Springs, employs more than 340 workers. According to owner Dan Young, most work on a part-time basis.

“The average restaurant at the end of the day earns a nickel out of a dollar.” Young said.

Young is against raising the minimum wage locally. He believes a raise would correlate to a direct cut in staffing, and ultimately hurt business.

“The typical restaurant owners and managers would have to look at,” Young added, “well, what can we do to use a little less?”

Across town, no matter how you slice it, many local businesses including Bada Bing Pizzeria, are against raising the minimum wage. Co-owner Maxine Hague has seen her business grow from four employees to 12.

“We already pay higher than minimum wage anyway, but any more than what we pay now would really hurt our business.”

Bada Bing Pizzeria is taking a giant leap forward by moving into downtown Springfield around mid-August. This growth will lead to the company nearly doubling their staff.

At Wittenberg, Associate Provost for Institutional Research, Jeff Ankrom, has seen the kind of changes a raised minimum wage brings first-hand.

“There are going to be a lot of people who are impacted by it positively and a few people that will be affected by it negatively. You’d expect if the minimum wage goes up some people will lose jobs.”

Ankrom ultimately agrees with Young. When minimum wage is increased, machines or equipment may have to be substituted for people to keep wages down.

Ankrom added that he’s done studies on the relation between minimum wage and the rate of inflation. He believes the most accurate minimum wage for this area accounting for inflation would be around $10 to $10.50 an hour.

We reached out to Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland. His response is noted as not representing the positions of those on the Springfield City Commission.

“We do not have any plans dealing with this issue locally. We do not keep such labor market information locally. I personally support an increase in the minimum wage at the state or national level, but not by local legislative action.” Copeland said.

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